ELLE TALENT 2015: Read the winning entry

#RelationshipGoals by Lia Louis


Following our brief to write about #RelationshipGoals, hundreds of you entered our annual writing competition, now in its seventh year. After much deliberation, we picked Lia Louis, 28, as the winner. Lia, a copywriter from Hertfordshire, impressed our judges with her modern love letter.


I Love You With Al My Heart, 2010, image courtesy of Jung Lee and ONE AND J. GALLERY VIA ARTSY.NET


You don’t have to take me to the restaurant that serves organic foam, and breasts of pigeons they swear aren’t related to the ones that binge on blackberries then crap on my windscreen. Don’t whisper sweet nothings over candlelight or order the wine that comes with a waiter’s monologue and two minutes of awkward nodding. You needn’t send flowers to my work, causing stares that make my head beam like a beef tomato. You don’t have to surprise me with shopping bags, shoes, jewellery… stuff. I don’t want you to fly us to white sands and crystal waters, and you don’t have to be that guy, in the films – you know, the one who says all the right things and miraculously thaws an icy mood with a cuddle from behind, a nuzzle of his Gillette stubble and husky in-ear whispers of, ‘Talk to me, baby, talk to me. Goddamnit, let me be there.’


You don’t have to fill the bath with bubbles and petals and pack the bathroom with candles straight from a Roxette video. You don’t have to write me Byron-like letters and declarations, and you don’t have to rescue me. Just pass me the takeaway menu, a phone, and when I eat enough for a street party of rugby players, admire me. As I sit in my dad’s old T-shirt and elastic-less pyjama bottoms, look at me like I could very well be Brigitte Bardot. Make me tea on Monday mornings despite my grunts for conversation. Send me emails. (And if the mood takes you, links to those ridiculous cat memes I love so much.)

Take long walks with me, talk about everything, nothing, ghosts, and the best thing you ever ate. And when it rains down on us and my hair mimics Meat Loaf’s mane, walk proudly beside me. When I’ve had a bad day, pelt me with Matchmakers and clear the path to the bathtub. And when I’m in it, continue my frantic search for the Christmas sherry, and find it. (Then pour it.) Ignore the hairs on my legs, even when I throw them scratchily over you at 2am. And when I rant about that new bore
at work, nod, agree, and tell me of all the wrestling moves you’d pull on him if you saw him.

Hug me when I cry (even when there’s snot) and let the only lies you tell me be that my swollen face looks bloody gorgeous mid-sinus infection, and that no, you didn’t want the last Scotch egg. Talk to me. Be silent with me. Tell me secrets to keep, and keep mine. Laugh with me, laugh at me (but never when I’ve stubbed my toe).

When I’m wrong, tell me.

When I’m right, let me dance.

Tell me truths, even when they hurt me. Make fun of me. Believe in me. Sample my screwy bakes. Say, ‘F*ck it,’ with me. And stay, even when it’d be easier to go.

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